Train Them Up, So They Won’t Depart

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

(Proverbs 22:6)

This scripture is where I am very happily beginning these possibly scattered thoughts today. Numberless parents have not hesitated to boldly proclaim this promise over their children. I am certainly among them. I am delighted to know it is another promise we can count on.

Children are extremely impressionable. They grow up in a particular environment where they hear the spoken word. Their small world is filled with actions, sights and smells which become permanent memories. As they live and grow, so do the memories.

Our daughter tells it well in this poem. She gladly shares it on this blog. In the poem, she draws upon her experiences, as a young girl in the 1960’s, when she attended Christian campmeetings in the summertime. I find this poem to be a picture of the promise.

"Riverside Camp"

On a chain across the driveway
Sways a sign that reads, 'Keep Out!'
Campers long ago departed
Many dead, without a doubt

But the children of those campers
When they drive up to that sign
See beyond the unmown grasses
Into buildings worn by time

Early in the morning daily
"Brother Brown" and his dear bride
Got up and set to making Camp
Along the Riverside

He would tend to all the upkeep
Mowing lawns, repairing gate
You could find her in the kitchen
As the evening waxed quite late

But their eyes stayed on the vision
And it kept them going strong
They'd be coming in from miles
There'd be preaching, there'd be song

And when the people gathered in
The camp became renowned -
Not for the "Camp beside the River"
But the camp was "Brother Brown's"

Brother Brown was without guile
And his wife was just the same
Humble servants of the Master
With the 'Good News' to proclaim

Food for soul and bread for body
Was the mission in that place
Though it prob'ly wasn't written
It was breathed in every space

We would see her in the kitchen
Hands and forearms in the dough
Getting ready for the evening
People dining row by row

And the loaves would keep on coming
From her ovens they were fed
It was kitchen oh so sacred
That produced such holy bread

Then across the grounds we'd amble
With our bodies satisfied
To the Tabernacle meeting
Row by row we sat inside

And the loaves would keep on coming
From the heavens we were fed
Wooden building oh so sacred
That contained such holy bread

As we sat there in that building
Holy hush fell on the ground
Poles held open doors and windows
And the breeze would rustle round

Had we known it would be over
We'd have chosen to remain
Frozen safely in those moments
Singing just one more refrain

While the river in the valley
Chortled on its way below
And the people sang above it
"Where You want me to, I'll go."

And the Browns for just a moment
Could set aside their toil
As the souls around the altar
Became the Victor's spoil

Sway on, sign, on rusty chain
Keep all the children out
But our memories have no boundaries
And they trespass with a shout!

For the echoes of saints' praises
Are still ringing down through time
And those moments on the campground
Etched a memory most sublime.

(©Robyn K. Hesley-Cowherd)  

2 thoughts on “Train Them Up, So They Won’t Depart

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